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    Bomb threat checklist: Bomb threat and suspicious package evacuation procedures

    By David Simpson

    Denial. It’s a common psychological response people have to changes in per- ceived conditions of safety. Most of us are ill-equipped to deal with unexpected threats, and we have become accustomed to relying on others to maintain our safety. We live in a 9-1-1 society, and we assume that help is always a phone call away.
    In reality, societal resiliency is a communal responsibility. As the population grows, so do the number of threats to safety, so it’s wise to increase your self-reliance should an emergency occur. The challenges of maintaining law and order and protecting society are not the sole responsibility of governments: We must become active participants in our own security. Following are some thoughts to help you do that.

    Bomb threats

    Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), improvised incendiary devices (IIDs), remote control improvised explosive devices (RCIEDs), vehicle-born improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) and human-delivered improvised explosive devices (HDIEDs) are all weapons of choice for domestic and international terrorists. Terrorists used backpacks and satchels to conceal IEDs in the 2004 attacks on the Madrid mass transit system, the 2005 attacks on the London subway, the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, and the 2009 attacks on hotels in Jakarta. These devices have killed and maimed thousands of people worldwide, mostly civilians (non-combatants).

    IEDs and IIDs have also been used by active shooters (Columbine High School, etc.) and by other fringe extremists. IEDs have become very effective weapons for those who advance their cause through terror and violence. These weapons are favored by terrorists for their force, traumatic impact, low cost of production and difficulty to detect when concealed in items used everywhere. Information on how to manufacture most of these devices is available online and the ingredients are readily available.

    Excluding Iraq and Afghanistan, 7,747 civilians were wounded by IEDs in 2010. This translates to an average of three IED incidents each day. Data compiled by the Global Campaign Against IEDs document incidents at 291 and 308 per month in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

    Internet radicalization

    Internet radicalization is of particular concern. The English language magazine Inspired, was developed by propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki (a recruiter and operational planner for al-Qa’ida), who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. The publication continues to motivate self-appointed radicals to commit atrocities, and most recently the Tsarnaev brothers reportedly used bomb-making instructions outlined in the summer 2010 edition of the magazine to build the pressure-cooker IEDs used in the Boston Marathon bombing.

    The spread of extremist ideology and the persistent threat of homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) indicate that the use of these devices is proliferating. Even improved security and greater police presence cannot completely prevent such attacks on public places. An essential element of every successful security program is the involvement of the people it’s intended to protect. There are not enough “eyes and ears” to identify and notify others in a timely matter when terrorism strikes. Each and every one of us is our first line of civil defense.


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      How to make soap at home for beginners

      By David Simpson

      As ugly as homemade soap.
      We’ve all heard the phrase, but today’s home-made beauty products are anything but homely. In fact, making your own personal care products allows you to have better control over the ingredients that come in contact with your your skin every day… and allows you to be more self-sufficient when a disaster shuts down your local stores.

      Before you begin

      Cold-process soap allows you to use lye to convert oils and other fatty acids into the salt that we know as soap. Lye is a caustic base, meaning that it has a very high pH, and it can lead to chemical burns if not handled correctly. Wearing protective gear like gloves and an apron, and working in a well-ventilated area when mixing the ingredients can help you sidestep most of the dangers of working with lye. You also want to be sure that all of the equipment you use for soap making are not used for food or liquids that will be ingested. Soap making is a precise process, so all of your ingredients need to be accurately measured.

      Most recipes are based on weight, not volume, so invest in a nice digital kitchen scale. The amount of lye required in each recipe varies depending on both the oils you’re using and the size of the batch. There are a number of lye calculators available on the Internet, but Juliebeth Mezzy, owner of Julie’s Stuff Natural Beauty Products, recommends Majestic Mountain Sage’s Lye Calculator (https://www.thesage.com/calcs/LyeCalc.html), which enables users to select the type and amount of oils they are using to determine how much lye is required for the saponification process.

      Preparation phase

      Once you have calculated and measured all of the ingredients, the first step is to add the lye to the water—carefully. You want to use a heat-resistant tool to stir the mixture and ensure that the lye crystals have been properly dissolved. This process generates a great deal of heat, despite starting with room-temperature ingredients, and can reach upward of 300 degrees. “It’s very important to let the lye/water mixture cool to about 100 degrees before you combine it with your oils, so use a thermometer to monitor the temperature,” advises Mezzy. “And be patient.” While the lye mixture is cooling, it’s a good time to increase the temperature of the oils you plan to use, whether vegetable- or animal-based, to get them into liquid form.

      Many oils such as coconut oil and shea butter are solid at room temperature, so use a double-boiler to heat them gently until just melted, much like working with chocolate. Before mixing the cooled lye and the oils, take the temperature of both solutions. They should both be around 100 degrees. If either has cooled below that, you can increase the temperature by placing the bottom of the pot into a sink of hot water. Likewise, if either remains too warm, you can lower the pot’s base into a sink of cold water.

      Time to

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